Stuart Levine's story that the Emmys might expand the number of series nominees in 2013 (to 10 for drama and another 10 for comedy) is intriguing.
I'm leaning toward being in favor of the concept. Yes, it does make a nomination more meaningful when you keep things tight — the uphill struggle of "Friday Night Lights" immediately comes to mind — but I'd rather have a little less meaning for my favorite shows being nominated than a lot more frustration when they are ignored.
And while a critically acclaimed but little-watched show might have trouble getting attention during nomination season, a spot in the Emmy finals could provide a valuable boost. I even wonder if it might keep a bubble show on the air. Would you have canceled "Freaks and Geeks" in the spring if you believed it would get an Emmy nom in the summer? "Emmy nominee 'Community,'" anyone?
I feel like I could find 10 truly worthwhile drama nominees pretty quickly. Ten comedy nominees might be more of a stretch, but would still probably be good for the ceremony.
So frankly, I'm having trouble seeing why you don't do this. You still end up with only one winner. And if the Academy is feeling randy, it could have Ryan Seacrest eliminate five of the nominees midway through the show.
The more immediate and definite news reported by our fair Stu is that "Downton Abbey" will be in the drama category (along with "Luther") this year — something that also seems right.
It's understandable why "Downton" was labeled a miniseries originally — in its origins, it was hardly different from any other PBS "Masterpiece" production that ends up in the category. But with a third season already ordered, the argument that the recently completed second season should remain labeled "miniseries" grew thin.
"Luther," whose second go-round consisted of only four episodes with barely a shred of the publicity that "Downton" has received, would have been more easily to forgive as a returning miniseries. It's hard to imagine it won't fall victim to what will definitely be a high-powered Emmy drama race this year.
All this also means that the path to Emmy recognition for "The Hour" and stars Romola Garai, Dominic West and Ben Whishaw has grown considerably more clear in 2012, when it will be in the miniseries category. But like its British friends, "The Hour" will probably find its second season (airing this year for Emmy consideration in 2013) called a drama series.
Keep in mind that no matter what the TV Academy does with its series categories, the other Emmy categories would remain at five nominees apiece. That means Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Idris Elba and friends will be in the thick of this year's thesp fray for drama.
Last but not least: Don't forget that after a one-year absence, "Breaking Bad" will return to Emmy eligibility this year. It's going to be quite a nominations season …